Ah, Joey… the pizza-loving, womanizing, brain-freezing struggling actor (in the show, of course) has been responsible for more than his fair share of hilarious moments in the ten seasons of the highly acclaimed television show Friends. Considering the comedic value of his five shenanigan-prone co-stars, this is no small feat.
Joey's general penchant for idiocy and slowness, as well as his surprising sensitivity and emotionality, has served as the catalyst for some of the funniest and most ridiculous moments in the series. His love of food has gotten him into just as much trouble as his love of women, while his mediocrity as an actor has been responsible for some brilliantly cringe-worthy performances and some questionable roles. Not to mention his highly embellished resume, which has lead him to frivolous attempts to learn languages he cannot speak and perform skills at which he is completely inept.
Of course, if acting jobs are few and far between, so too is money. And with rent to pay, Joey must sometimes resort to alternative measures. Not ruthless enough for criminality, not intelligent enough to come up with anything viable or remotely useful, Joey has attempted everything from extorting his friends for new kitchen appliances to simply pretending to have things he doesn’t, from sports cars to an identical twin. So join us in a disbelieving laugh as we look at some of his (not so) finest moments!
Perhaps the most quotable line from the most quotable character in the entire show, this cathartic gem emerges when a girl Joey is dating makes a habit of eating food off of his plate. He tries to mitigate the situation by ordering an extra portion of fries for the table, but ends up having to tell the girl (as well as Phoebe, who set them up) that, uncompromisingly: JOEY DOESN’T SHARE FOOD! Joey is also a hypocrite because when they go out to dinner again, she makes the mistake of leaving her chocolate dessert unattended.
Joey, unable to control himself, devours the whole thing.
This leads to one of the funniest moments in the episode. When Joey is discovered, face covered in chocolate, he simply announces with a laugh: “I’m not even sorry!”
“Je da flup flee!” “Me la pee!” “Deu mu blah!” These are not phrases that you would likely hear a French person say, but these are just a few examples of the nonsensical ramblings uttered by Joey when Phoebe attempts to teach him French.
It all spawns from Joey attempting to learn the simple phrase, “je m’appelle Claude”. When he breaks it down syllable by syllable (“Je…ma…pelle…Claude”) he has it, however when sped up it morphs into “me poo poo!” Naturally, Phoebe loses patience, leading to Joey attempting to learn it alone with an audiobook; apparently, 1-5 in French is “eh, blu, bla, flu, flae”…well, the recording DID tell him he was doing a good job!
Aside from possessing a rapport with the ladies and a certain level of street smarts, Joey can be hilariously naive. When he recommends that Chandler visit his tailor Frankie, Chandler comes back from the encounter traumatized. “Your tailor… is a very bad man” he tells his friend, outraged at the way he measured his inseam, declaring that there was definite cupping involved.
Looking for backup from level-headed Ross, Chandler tells him about how Frankie took advantage of him.
When Joey dismisses it, saying “that’s how they do pants,” Ross fires back saying that’s how they do it in prison! The whole encounter leaves Joey shaken, apparently, that is NOT how they do pants.
Perhaps Joey’s most ridiculous moment, and a personal favorite. Joey’s fridge breaks, and the strapped-for-cash actor needs someone to pay for it. Rachel, who recently moved in, is his first target: apparently, Joey’s parents bought the fridge just after he was born and he’d never had a problem with it before she moved in. He asks Chandler how he wants to pay him, because apparently buying a new fridge is comparable to buying a new kid after a divorce, and as his ex-roommate, the responsibility falls to him.
Best of all is when he pushes Ross into the Fridge, claiming that that broke it. Chandler says he saw him push Ross, Joey fires back saying: “you pushed him!” Either way, Joey ain’t talking to Ross because he broke his fridge!
Ah the man bag (or “man’s bag” as Joey calls it): a divisive piece of apparel which has been embraced and ridiculed in equal measure. Skeptical at first, Joey soon embraces the new bag, pondering: “it is odd how a woman’s purse looks good on me, a man.” Chandler and Ross prove harder to win over, though.
When Chandler sees him, he quips: “You look just like your son, Mrs. Tribbiani.”
Joey assures them that, “not only does it look good, but its practical too!” Ross suggests he can make use of the practicality to store his makeup. In the end, the whole group turns on him when it costs him an audition, suggesting he “give up the bag.” And rightfully so, it was an awful bag.
Joey sees a girl at the subway stop. Joey recognizes her from a job he had at Macy’s. He goes up to the girl, works his charm on her, invites her to go out with him. It’s what Joey does. Of course, she agrees, but when they go to leave, she sees something, suddenly has a change of heart, and quickly walks away from Joey.
When we see what she’s looking at, we find it hard to blame her. The poster has a picture of Joey’s face on it with the caption: “What Mario isn’t telling you.” There’s no need to spell out here what the ad was trying to warn the people about, let’s just say Phoebe’s joke about it being infectious is very apt.
After Superintendent Treeger makes Rachel cry for clogging the building's trash chute, accusing her of being a little "princess" (she has it coming, if we're being honest), Joey, going all protective big brother, decides to confront him and demand he apologize to his friend. The end result?
He threatens to evict both Monica and Rachel from Monica's grandmother's apartment.
To prevent him from doing so, Joey agrees to be Treeger's dancing partner (only after Joey confirms that dancing partner isn't prison lingo for something else). Miraculously, he starts to enjoy the dancing, leading to a brilliant rooftop dance scene with him and Treeger. The only problem is he still doesn't know how to lead.
In Season 2, Joey really hit his stride. He got the role of a lifetime on Days of Our Lives as neurosurgeon Dr. Drake Ramoray, got his own penthouse apartment, and finally began to see his hard work and aspirations come to fruition. Then he messed it up.
In a magazine article, Joey made the false claim that he wrote most of his own lines for the show. By his own logic: "I figure, it makes me look good, which makes the show look good, which makes the writers look good!" The writers didn't see it the same way, and Ramoray was written off the show by falling down an elevator shaft. Always be careful what you say to journalists, kids.
As we've mentioned throughout this list, Joey has taken his fair share of terrible acting roles throughout his acting career. Perhaps the worst was his role as Sigmund Freud in Freud! The Musical. In it, he's going through a therapy session with a girl called Eva (presumably Eva Rosenfeld), where he declares that her problem is quite simple, before launching into the following: "All you need is a dingle/What you envy's a [redacted]/A thing through which you can tinkle/Or play with, or simply let hang!"
The upbeat jingle persists, sung by Joey and underpinned by a jaunty piano riff.
The audience, including his five friends, look on in stunned silence, while the rest of us look on with elicited mock laughter. Poor Joey...
Joey hits on a lot of girls. However, most of them don't hit on Joey; or, more specifically, hit him. "She's hurting me," he cries, which leads to mockery from his friends. When he confronts Katie, the girl in question, about the hitting, he explains to her that it feels like being hit "with a very tiny but very real bat." Katie doesn't believe him, and asks "are you making fun of my size?!" and hits him again.
Unable to take it anymore, he meets up with Katie to break up with her, taking away the Joey love... wearing six sweaters. Rachel, who's present, feels for herself the wrath of the little terror, giving her a kick in the shin for good measure.
That’s the old adage, it’s not how old you are on your driving license, it's how young you feel on the inside. Unfortunately, this means very little when the natural aging process takes over. Joey didn’t seem to get the memo, though, and he seems both surprised and offended when his friends tell him that he cannot pass for 19, something he has to do for an upcoming commercial.
Adamant to prove his friends wrong, Joey decides to act in a completely juvenile manner; or, at least, more so than normal.
Donning a basketball jersey, beanie hat and jeans below the belt-line, he comes out swinging all hand gestures and slang, trying to look and sound “hip” (at least for the late 90s/early 00s). “’Sup with the whack PlayStation sup?” he asks Chandler. Word, bro.
Ok, I said the Fridge was the most ridiculous Joey moment in Friends history, but boy this is a photo-finish silver medalist! Joey wants to earn a few extra bucks by donating some fluids. The bank isn’t looking for any samples from Joey, though, only identical twins.
Enter Carl, Joey’s “identical twin brother” sporting a leather jacket, dark hair, and sallow skin. It's a foolproof plan, but Joey has to groom him first. Poor Carl can’t do anything right, messing up the cadence of Joey’s “how’re YOU doin’?” catchphrase, asking for a slice of cake (“PIZZA… WE LIKE PIZZA!) Unbelievably, the doctor can tell straight away that Joey and Carl are not identical twins, prompting the wrath of Joey.
In an episode where Brad Pitt guest stars at the height of his popularity as an antagonist to Rachel, played by his then-wife Jennifer Aniston, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the power couple stole the show. However, arguably the funniest thing about the episode, “The One With The Rumor,” is Joey’s battle with the Thanksgiving Turkey.
Monica didn’t plan on making one as none of the others wanted one, but upon Joey’s insistence, she makes one just for him.
Weighing 18 pounds (the same as Joey’s birth weight), he changes his jeans for a pair of Phoebe’s maternity pants so he can tackle his “Everest.” “Here come the meat sweats!” He manages to finish it, only to want a slice of pie. CUT HIM A REAL PIECE!
“After all your years of struggling you’ve finally been able to crack your way into show business.” Chandler’s sarcastic words of congratulations for his best friend Joey after he announces that he got a role in the new Al Pacino movie. The only problem is, he’s being cast as Al Pacino’s “Butt Double”.
Despite the slagging he receives from his peers, he shows up for the film shoot. He gets fired from the shoot after only two takes, however, first for clenching and then for going for quiet desperation (however he managed that from behind). Unfortunately for Ross, he was never able to go to the “big opening.” Too bad, because being in a movie with Al Pacino could have actually been a big deal for Joey!
The unfortunate part about this was that it was probably Joey’s best acting performance. Joey finds the keys to a Porsche sports car, subsequently falls in love with the car, and starts waxing it and waxing poetic with passers-by about the car’s horsepower and his abode in Upstate New York.
Sadly, the driver finds Joey to retrieve his keys and his car.
Though Porsche-less, Joey just can’t let go and buys a Porsche jacket and baseball cap, to give the illusion of car ownership, because “only an idiot would wear [that] stuff if he didn’t have the car!” As the credits roll, Joey is supervising his “Porsche” while chatting up two girls. Suddenly, a man catching a long pass runs into the “car,” which is just a pile of boxes. Of course.
Joey Tribbiani is a man who, surprisingly, is not a stranger to the television screen. That being said, most of his appearances have been as an actor. For his appearance on Pyramid, though, he simply plays himself, in all his vapid glory. And though he didn't seem to clue in, the people he was partnered with on the show didn't seem to be very happy with his performance. And with good reason!
Firstly, he lets his partner Gene know that while it can be "intimidating to be around celebrities," he's just like him "only better looking and richer." Some of his descriptions are hilarious: Blueprint? "The plan ISN'T called a schmuprint." As well as his answers: white cream and mayonnaise? "Paper... snow... A GHOST!"
Perhaps the one thing that Joey loves on this earth as much as women is food; sandwiches, in particular. When going on a ride along with Phoebe's then-boyfriend Gary, along with pals Ross and Chandler, the guys hear gunfire. It turns out to only be a car that backfired, but that didn't stop Joey from reflexively diving on top of pal Ross to protect him, right? Well, not exactly.
Joey was actually trying to cover a sandwich which he had bought earlier.
When he reveals this to his buddy Chandler, who was envious of Ross, he explains that it is because it is the "greatest sandwich in the world." To show his love for Chandler, he offers the sandwich to him. Well, one bite. Don't be selfish, man!
“One of the most important things about soap opera acting is reacting… this does not mean acting again.” Words of wisdom given forth by Joey when teaching a group of eager acting students.
Joey is not exactly the best candidate for the job of an acting coach. “Some of you are going to have become much more attractive” is just one of the pieces of sound advice he gives. His sense of pride soon falters when one of his students reveals that he’s going to audition for the same role as Joey. Joey, attempting to sabotage his protege by telling the young actor to play the character, ‘Nick the Boxer,’ gay. It works, and Joey breaks down in front of his class, “most of whom are too ugly to be on TV,” in the performance of a lifetime!
From identical twins to identical hand twins, Joey stumbles across another goldmine of an opportunity in Las Vegas when he realizes that the dealer at his blackjack table (he lost, BTW) is his “identical hand twin.” Cornering him in a nearby restroom (not sketchy at all) Joey lists out a number of potential ventures for the two of them to exploit.
These include hand modeling, performing magic, television and, eh, NASA, apparently.
Joey even brings Phoebe (as businesswoman Regina Phalange) to convince the man. They both get subsequently escorted from the casino. If nothing else, it showcased Joey’s songwriting prowess, penning the two’s theme music: “This hand is your hand, this hand is my hand, oh wait, that’s your hand… no wait, that’s my hand.” Genius.
Another involuntary fashion statement made here by Joey. With the better part of the episode, “The One With Ross’ Grant,” based around Joey trying to convince his friend to recommend him for a role in a commercial that Chandler himself pitched for his company, prompting him to give him an audition tape of his acting, it's weird that we never actually get to see the video for a long time as Chandler refuses to watch it. Joey (rightfully) accuses his friend of lying about watching the tape. When Joey shows Chandler the tape to prove his point, it shows Joey in a Japanese commercial for “Ichiban: Lipstick for Men,” wearing shiny blue lipstick playing a shiny guitar. Still better than the man bag, though.
While Joey’s incapability as an acting coach is down to his ineptness as an actor, at least he’s acted. However, when he gets a role in a musical, he gets it partly because he padded out his CV with “experience” in a variety of dance styles (three years of modern dance and five years with the American Ballet Theatre).
Demonstrating his “dance moves” to friends Phoebe and Chandler, it becomes obvious to all of us watching that Joey cannot dance.
The worst part is when the dance captain doesn’t show up to the audition, the director puts Joey in charge of teaching the other auditioners the steps as he has the “most experience.” The result is a hilarious mishmash of Joey dance moves followed by the obligatory jazz hands.
So after all the misfires and disappointments, it looked like finally, Joey was going to be acknowledged for his acting. He’s nominated for a “Soapy Award” (okay, we haven’t heard of it either) for his return as Dr. Drake Ramoray on Days of Our Lives.
Rachel is more than happy to go as Joey’s date but suggests that he practice his “gracious loser face” just in case he doesn’t win the award. Of course, there is no doubt in Joey’s mind that he will win. He doesn’t win, and when the camera pans over to Joey, he can be seen going on a profanity-laden tirade against the decision. Presenting an award later, he accepts it on behalf of the recipient... turns out he gets one in the end!
Kept secret for the first half of the show's run, it is revealed that Joey owns a stuffed animal called "Hugsy," or as Joey calls him: "Hugsy: My Playtime Penguin Pal." A stuffed Penguin toy, Joey first reveals it in the episode "The One Where Everybody Finds Out" to Rachel and Phoebe.
The toy itself makes a number of appearances throughout the second half of the series.
Perhaps the worst offense of all is when Emma, Rachel's daughter, takes a liking to Hugsy ("Why wouldn't she, he's a wonderful person!"). This doesn't sit well with Joey, who wants to take him back from her "chubby little hands." He buys a replacement Hugsy and demands that Rachel "make the transfer." Heart of gold.
After the relative slump Joey goes through post-playing Dr. Drake Ramoray on Days of our Lives, he finally finds himself back on prime time television as a guest star in hit drama Law and Order. To celebrate, Joey brings over his Italian grandmother to watch the premiere with him and his friends. Naturally, things start to go wrong.
Joey realizes that all his scenes have been cut when a body bag is seen in a scene which, Joey reveals, he is in. Realizing that his grandmother will be devastated not to see her grandson on television, he devises a plan to create his own movie. Filmed in his apartment next door (wearing the same shirt), he holds his pet duck hostage with a toy gun. Amazingly, she buys it... even with a guest appearance from Chandler singing some David Bowie.
It all started with a chair. Much to Ross’ chagrin, no one is able to get ready in time for an important function he has at his museum, needing the entire gang downstairs in 20 minutes. Joey steals Chandler’s chair, and like two rational adults it escalates into an all-out war. Joey takes the cushions from the chair, and in response, Chandler steals Joey’s underwear.
Not to be outdone, Joey does the “opposite” of that (apparently) and walks into the room wearing Chandler’s entire wardrobe.
Doing a hilarious imitation of his friend, he says: “Hey, I’m Chandler, could I BE wearing any more clothes?!” To make matters worse, Joey, who is going “commando,” does his best Olivia Newton-John impression and starts doing lunges.
This line happens to be a personal favorite, and is loved by many fans! In a classic Joey-ism, he doesn't quite understand a popular saying (moot point). He describes it as a "moo point," or, "like a cow's opinion. It doesn't matter. It's moo." Rachel says that his explanation for what the saying is seems to actually make sense. And, you know... she's not wrong.
This is one of the few cases in the show where "Joey Logic" actually pulls through! While a moo point might not be replacing the original saying any time soon, it still makes sense, and it's worked its way into lots of people's vocabularies over the years since its first airing.